Sunday, April 26, 2020

Video: Myths About Writing for Children #KidLit #amwriting

My video workshop "Myths About Writing for Children" is available online for free!

"Writing for children is easier than writing for adults. You can't address tough topics in children's books. Children's books should be written in rhyme ..."

"The myths about writing for children are many, and sometimes contradictory. (You can't make money. You’ll get rich, like J.K. Rowling!) Learn the truth from the author of over 60 books for young people, including fiction and nonfiction, for beginning readers through teenagers."

Watch the 45-minute video here.

Want to learn more? Sign up for my live (online) workshop on plotting May 2!

What I Learned from Nancy Drew—Tools for Fast-Paced Plotting
With Chris Eboch

Saturday, May 2, 2020, 12:30 – 2:30 pm Mountain Time 

Platform: Zoom Live Meeting
$20 SWW members, $30 Non-members
* must register and pay by Friday, May 1, 2020

A ghostwriter shares what she learned while writing about a famous sleuth, from “grab you by the throat” openings to cliffhanger chapter endings and always more, more, more action. Now learn how you can use these techniques to make any story or book better. Writers at all levels can use these tips for both fiction and nonfiction, including memoir.

To Register:
Call the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday–Thursday, 9:00 am-noon) or use the Online Registration Form.

The Zoom invitation link and the password will be emailed to those who purchase this workshop. 

Instructor’s Bio:
Chris Eboch’s books for children include nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teens. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; and The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy. Her writing craft books include Advanced Plotting and You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers. Visit Chris’ website at

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Turning an Idea into Story: End with a Bang #writing #amwriting

I've been talking about turning an idea into a story by breaking it down into four main parts: situation, complications, climax, and resolution. 

I covered setting up the situation and building a strong middle full of action and conflict (check the links on the right to see all the posts on developing ideas, plotting, etc). Now we get to the climax and resolution.

Can She Do It?!

Your character has faced complications through the middle of the story. Finally, at the climax, the main character must succeed or fail. Time is running out. The race is near the end. The girl is about to date another guy. The villain is starting the battle. One way or another, your complications have set up a situation where it’s now or never. 

However you get there, the climax will be strongest if it is truly the last chance. You lose tension if the reader believes the main character could fail this time, and simply try again tomorrow.

In my romantic suspense novel Whispers in the Dark, the climax comes when the heroine is injured and being pursued by a villain. If she can escape, maybe she can stop the bad guys and save her love interest. 

But the penalty for failure is death—the highest stake of all. Short stories, different genres, or novels for younger kids might have lesser stakes, but the situation should still be serious.

• Don’t rush the climax. Take the time to write the scene out in vivid detail, even if the action is happening fast. Think of how movies switch to slow motion, or use multiple shots of the same explosion, in order to give maximum impact to the climax. Use multiple senses and your main character’s thoughts and feelings to pull every bit of emotion out of the scene.

• To make the climax feel fast-paced, use mainly short sentences and short paragraphs. The reader’s eyes move more quickly down the page, giving a sense of breathless speed. (This is a useful technique for cliffhanger chapter endings as well.)

Happy Endings

The climax ends with the resolution. You could say that the resolution finishes the climax, but it comes from the situation: it’s how the main character finally meets that original challenge.

In almost all cases the main character should resolve the situation himself. No cavalry to the rescue! Today, even romance novels rarely have the hero saving the heroine; she at least helps out (and may very well save him instead). We’ve been rooting for the main character to succeed, so if someone else steals the climax away from him or her, it robs the story of tension and feels unfair.

Here’s where many beginning children’s writers fail. It’s tempting to have an adult—a parent, grandparent, or teacher, or even a fairy, ghost, or other supernatural creature—step in to save the child or tell him what to do. 

But kids are inspired by reading about other children who tackle and resolve problems. It helps them believe that they can meet their challenges, too. When adults take over, it shows kids as powerless and dependent on grownups. 

Regardless of your character’s age, let your main character control the story all the way to the end (though others may assist).

Although your main character should be responsible for the resolution, she doesn’t necessarily have to succeed. She might, instead, realize that her goals have changed. The happy ending then comes from her new understanding of her real needs and wants. 

Some stories may even have an unhappy ending, where the main character’s failure acts as a warning to readers. This is more common in literary novels than in genre fiction.

Tip: How the main character resolves the situation—whether she succeeds or fails, and what rewards or punishments she receives—will determine the theme. To help focus your theme, ask yourself:

            What am I trying to accomplish?
            Who am I trying to reach?
            Why am I writing this?

Once you know your theme, you know where the story is going and how it must be resolved. For example, a story with the theme “Love conquers all” would have a different resolution than a story with the theme “Love cannot always survive great hardship.”

The next time you have a great idea but can’t figure out what to do with it, see if you have all four parts of the story. If not, see if you can develop that idea into a complete, dramatic story or novel by expanding your idea, complications, climax or resolution, as needed. Then readers will be asking you, “Where did you get that fabulous idea?”

Take a Step toward Publication – get a critique from Chris

Novels: $2 per page (standard manuscript format/​double-spaced) for general editorial comments (plot/​character/​flow/​language notes). This provides a 4 to 6 page editorial letter, plus notes written on the manuscript. Minimum $100.
Picture Books up to 1200 words: $50
Email me through the contact page on my website. A sample critique letter and recommendations are available on request.

Do you need help analyzing a plot? Download The Plot Outline Exercise from Advanced Plotting in a form you can edit and reuse! (For more about Advanced Plotting, scroll down.)
Chris Eboch is the author of over 60 books for children, including nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Her writing craft books include You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting.

Learn more or read excerpts at or visit her page on Amazon or Amazon UK. (For other countries click here.)

Kris Bock writes novels of romance, mystery, and suspense. Her Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and shelter cats. Get a free 10,000-word story set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café when you sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter. You’ll also get a printable copy of the recipes mentioned in the cat café novels.